James Austin Johnson will be one of the newest faces gracing television screens every Saturday night starting on Oct. 2. The comedian, who is known for his amazing Donald Trump impersonations, was announced as one of three new Saturday Night Live cast members on Sept. 27. Aristotle Athari and Sarah Sherman will also be joining the show after cast members Beck Bennett and Lauren Holt decided to part ways.
Find out more about James and his impressive background below.
James is a regular actor and comedian in the Los Angeles comedy scene.
After getting his start in Nashville, TN, he appeared in various shows, including Tuca and Bertie as well as several movies, including the Coen Brothers movie, Hail, Caesar!. He started getting a bigger spotlight when videos of him impersonating former President Donald Trump, like the one above, during the 2020 presidential election went viral. The clips featured him going on tangents about random things such as Scooby-Doo and Weird Al Yankovic‘s feud with Coolio.
He started doing comedy at a young age.
JAN 31 2004 7:54:03 PM
Nashville's number one The Matrix fan debuts the chuck e cheese bit, time travelers mark your calendars.. pic.twitter.com/APWb6YDv63
— James Austin Johnson (@shrimpJAJ) September 26, 2021
In a hilarious video he shared to social media on Sept. 26, 2021, he can be seen doing stand up in 2004. The skit, which is above, included him ranting about the ‘crappy pizza’ at Chuck E. Cheese and a funny dance sequence that had the audience in hysterics. “Can’t believe i’m 29 in this! Time flies,” he joked in the caption.
James credits an old warehouse job with helping him get ideas for his Trump impersonations.
“I had a day job where I was folding clothes with other stand-up comedians and touring musicians, and we were all in this merch warehouse together. That’s really where I got a lot of my Trump takes from,” he told Vanity Fair in Nov. 2020. “It was like being around friends. There’s a social aspect to it, that we’ll just be chitchatting about something, having a conversation at work. That’s where the Scooby-Doo one came from.
He’s married & expecting a child.
James often posts adorable pics of his pregnant wife Bekah to Instagram and gushes over her as well their soon-to-be bundle of joy. She announced the happy news on Instagram with a sonogram pic, which can be seen above, and bittersweet caption on June 1, 2021. “I am currently 10 weeks along after a year of thinking of the first I lost. @shrimpjaj buried a grandfather while we have a new soul on the way,” her caption read. “I’ve been sick for weeks and and not sure when I can actually celebrate a new life. After celebrating a life that lived 100 years, I decided that life is celebrating at every possible moment.”
He started theatrical training at age 10.
He went on to study the Sanford Meisner technique in college and it helped him memorize lines so well that he could embody characters he played. “The lines that you’ve memorized will come across as natural when you’re in the moment,” he told Vanity Fair about the process. “But it helps you to free up so you can do stuff while you’re—that you can have action while you’re speaking it. It makes it really natural.”